La Fille Mal Gardee
Mon, 14 Sep 2015
Almost dark, the practice room door ajar; most of the students long gone. Walking past – that brief sight of her made me catch my breath. Mirrors, wall upon wall, and that all important bar where she stood; her reflection fair blushing at its own beauty; hair swept into a chignon; tendrils coyly flirting with gently sloping shoulders, black leotard – red pumps.
Had I ever seen such perfection as this? This budding rose – this slip of a girl, I’d glimpsed as if for the very first time. I meant to move on; resist the pull, the magnetism, the sheer enchantment. Except, my feet stuck to the floor, reluctant to break the spell. But I had a job to do, and day-dreaming don’t pay no bills. How I wished, though, right that minute, the wretched floors would clean themselves.
Transfixed, as I was, I envied her skill; her arabesques and pirouettes...such style, such grace. One of Chopin’s nocturnes echoed round the room as if Ashkenazi himself was sat, right there, playing his socks off...until I recalled I’d seen the school pianist leave – over an hour since. Fascinating thing...imagination; it fills in all the gaps.
The sound of her voice made me jump.
“I know you’re there. Heard your bracelets jangle. Any chance of a lift home?”
Fifteen years on, and that same tune calls down the sweet, night rain, and I’d give anything to take her home, again.